A Rhinelander man has been sentenced for staging a massive shoot out in the woods of Lincoln County. John "Homer" Van Meter claimed to have been involved in a gun battle with two men who came to his logging site near Tomahawk in April of 2006. The 54 year-old Van Meter was hospitalized for a gunshot wound to the stomach, but authorities came to doubt his story. A jury found him guilty of obstructing an officer. At sentencing, Van Meter told the court he did not shoot himself, and did not perpetrate a hoax. "I think the state should be held accountable for these lies," he told Lincoln County Circuit Judge Jay Tlusty. "This case has been nothng but slanderous, false malicious lies from the very beginning."
But Tlusty said the magnitude of the case was significant, because of the resources it expeneded: "in that respect, the nature of the crime was significant, the gravity of it, the effect of it." The judge ordered Van Meter to serve 14 days in jail as part of a year on probation, and to pay a fine of $2500 dollars. Van Meter has filed a motion requesting a new trial in the case. A jury found him guilty of obstructing an officer. At his sentencing, both the state and defense agreed that Van Meter truly believes his story.